Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment

CHINA SHELLFISH BAN

China bans shellfish imports from US West Coast

(Information in the following story is from: KUOW-FM, http://www.kuow.org/)

SEATTLE (AP) — China has suspended imports of shellfish from the U.S. West Coast, cutting off one of the biggest export markets for Northwest companies.

KUOW public radio reports that the Chinese government imposed the ban after discovering that recent shipments of geoduck clams from Northwest waters had high levels of arsenic and a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The Chinese government says the ban that started last week will continue indefinitely.

Clams, oysters and all other two-shelled bivalves harvested off Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California are affected.

The U.S. exported $68 million worth of geoduck clams last year — most of which came from Puget Sound. Nearly 90 percent of those geoduck exports went to China.

CRASH DEATHS

4 dead after car crashes while fleeing LA deputies

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say four people died in Compton after a car fleeing from deputies rammed another vehicle, flipped and burst into flames.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Peter Ramirez says deputies early Saturday pulled over a car with three male suspects. An earlier report had described a similar vehicle from which shots had been fired.

Ramirez tells the Los Angeles Times that the car sped off as deputies approached.

After a high-speed chase, the driver ran a red light, hit another car and then struck a wall. The car landed upside down in the front yard of a home.

The three male occupants and the driver of the second car, a woman in her 20s, died at the scene.

None of the victims has been identified.

SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-VICTIM

San Francisco runway death prompts new training

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Firefighters who work at San Francisco International Airport are receiving additional training on how to respond to airplane crashes following the Asiana Airlines accident in which a teenage girl was run over and killed by two emergency vehicles while lying wounded on the runway.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that commanding officers from the San Francisco Fire Department's airport division will receive 40 to 80 hours of advanced instruction next year at the Fire Training Research Center at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The Chronicle says instructors from the center already have provided basic disaster response training in San Francisco to 80 of the department's firefighters and paramedics.

According to the newspaper, the three commanders in charge of the Asiana crash had never undergone the disaster training that federal rules require for rank-and-file firefighters assigned to airports.

GOLF COURSE SHOOTING

Reno man gets probation for golf course shooting

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Reno man has been placed on probation and fined $1,000 for shooting a golfer whose errant ball broke a bedroom window at his home.

Jeff Fleming was put on probation Thursday for up to five years at a sentencing hearing in Washoe County District Court.

The 53-year-old Fleming faced as much as 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine after he earlier pleaded guilty to a felony charge of battery with a deadly weapon.

Fleming's attorney, Larry Dunn, said Thursday his client fired his shotgun at the golfer from some 50 yards away in an attempt to scare him, not injure him.

The unidentified golfer was treated at a hospital for minor injuries to an arm and both legs.

LOCKYER-PENSIONS

Lockyer: school pension plan implodes without fix

(Information in the following story is from: Ventura County Star, http://venturacountystar.com)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Treasurer Bill Lockyer is warning that the state teacher retirement system is rapidly running out of money.

Lockyer predicts the plan that pays benefits to retired public school educators won't exist in 30 years unless it's fixed.

The Ventura County Star reported Saturday that Lockyer says a budget expert recommends that the state kick in another $500 million of taxpayer dollars to the teacher fund for each of several years to cut its unfunded liability.

He says if nothing is done the California State Teachers' Retirement System "implodes" in 30 years.

The newspaper said his remarks were made in a speech in Ventura County Thursday.

PRISON DOCTOR PROBE

State probes prison doctor's tenure in Fresno Co.

(Information in the following story is from: The Fresno Bee, http://www.fresnobee.com)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A California prison psychiatrist is facing accusations of negligence and incompetence stemming from his treatment of mentally ill inmates when he worked at the Fresno County jail.

The Fresno Bee reports that the State Medical Board has accused Dr. Pratap Narayan with misdiagnosing inmates, prescribing drugs without examining patients and recommending inadequate doses of medication.

Narayan spent five years as the chief of psychiatric services at the county jail and left in February to take a job at Avenal State Prison in Kings County. A message left at his office was not returned on Saturday and The Associated Press could not find a home listing for him.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Dana Simas tells The Bee that Narayan's status at the prison is being reviewed because of the Medical Board's inquiry.

DEADLY CAR CHASE

Suspected drunken driver fatally shot by police

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A suspected drunken driver was fatally shot by police after an hour-long chase involving Los Angeles police, sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities say the male driver was shot an unknown number of times as he exited a silver Corvette after it rammed another vehicle in the downtown Los Angeles area about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Police Department spokesman Lt. Andy Neiman says the man — who was not immediately identified — was pronounced dead at a hospital early Saturday.

The pursuit began about 9:30 p.m. in the working-class suburb of Cudahy, when deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department attempted to pull over the driver for suspected drunken and reckless driving.

The shooting will be investigated.

DOUBLE INITIAL KILLINGS

Marin serial killer told to pay county for defense

(Information in the following story is from: Marin Independent Journal, http://www.marinij.com)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — A judge in Marin County has ordered a serial killer sentenced to death to reimburse $170,000 the county spent helping him mount a legal defense.

But the Marin Independent Journal reports that the county may have a hard time recovering the money because 79-year-old Joseph Naso managed to liquidate at least $300,000 worth of his assets while he was awaiting trial.

Naso, a former photographer, was convicted in August of murdering four young California women during the 1970s and 1990s. All the victims had alliterative first and last names that started with the same initial.

Although he represented himself during his two-month trial, he was assigned a public defender to advise him. The costs the county is seeking to recover also went toward evidence and investigative work.

RAPE VICTIM-LENIENCY

Child-rape victim gets light penalty on burglaries

(Eds: Retransmits to avoid potential for identifying victims of incest, sexual abuse.)

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California woman who as a child was raped repeatedly by her father, and later gave birth to three of his children, was given a light sentence on burglary charges because of her horrific childhood.

Authorities say the 33-year-old woman faced more than 12 years in prison for helping gang members burglarize homes in Los Angeles.

But she is expected to leave jail within days after a Los Angeles County judge sentenced her Friday to two years and eight months in custody.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that she was given credit for time she spent behind bars awaiting trial and sentencing, clearing the way for her release.

The challenge for authorities was to determine an appropriate sentence for someone who also endured a hellish childhood.

MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

Vaccine possible in Cal campus meningitis outbreak

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Officials are considering whether to provide students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with an unlicensed vaccine to prevent further spread of a bacterial meningitis outbreak on campus.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that government health officials and the university are working together to determine if the vaccine Bexsero would be effective against the type of meningitis that sickened four students in November.

University officials say the school will take the necessary steps to provide access to the vaccine if it is recommended by experts.

The move comes after Princeton University received permission to distribute Bexsero, after eight students at the New Jersey school fell ill. The infection was similar, but not identical, to the strain of bacterium that sickened the California students.

WEDDING RING RETURNED

Police recover wedding ring stolen from IA airport

(Information in the following story is from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A wedding ring stolen from a California woman at the airport in Des Moines has been recovered by police.

The Des Moines Register reports that police were able to track what happened to the ring through airport security video.

Police say the California woman removed her ring while passing through airport security on Monday, setting it on a chair next to her. When the woman got up, she forgot to pick up the ring.

Video shows another woman standing nearby watching the Californian leave her ring. Police Sgt. Jason Halifax says the second woman waited until the victim was gone, then picked up the ring and walked away with it.

Police recovered the ring on Friday and say charges are pending against the woman suspected of taking it.

KINGS ARENA

Signatures submitted to force Kings arena vote

(Information in the following story is from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A group fighting the city of Sacramento's plan to subsidize a new basketball arena for the Kings has submitted tens of thousands of signatures in an attempt to force a public vote on the matter.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP, submitted 34,000 signatures on Friday for verification by Sacramento County election officials.

The group needs 22,027 valid voter signatures to get the initiative on the June ballot.

The NBA has told Sacramento it must build a modern arena to keep the Kings in town. The city has approved paying $258 million of the project's estimated $448 million cost.

California's campaign watchdog agency disclosed in August that billionaire Chris Hansen, who lost a bid to move the Kings to Seattle, secretly gave $80,000 to pay signature gatherers trying to qualify the measure.